Dr. Joseph Motta is Featured as Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center’s Physician Spotlight
Joseph Motta, MD, FACS
Cardiac, Vascular & Thoracic Surgeon
Tell us about yourself:
I completed medical school and my general surgery residency at the University of Miami in Coral Gables. After that, I was up in Atlanta, Georgia, at Emory University doing my cardiovascular and thoracic surgery training. I came here to Palm Beach Gardens when I was 32, and have been here ever since.
What brought you to South Florida and specifically Palm Beach Gardens?
I was looking for a position where I could start my career and practice. I wanted to be back in South Florida. It just happened to be that Dr. Richard Faro and I met and we started the first open heart program here in Palm Beach County in the early 1980s.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I like just being around people and meeting people. Also, I like being able to help people that are in need. I have an insight and a skill set that could help them either extend their life or extend their ability to use their extremities to walk or prevent them from having a stroke.
Growing up, what did you want to be?
I grew up in a physician family with a nurse and a doctor as my parents. I am the oldest of seven children. My youngest brother had congenital heart disease so I was at home many times with him when he would have a cyanotic blue baby spell. I was a kid at the time and drawn to help him and that kind of cemented in the back of my mind that is where I was heading even though directly I was not sure and still open and exploring different options. The more I learned and the further I got in my training, I felt cardiovascular medicine and specifically surgery, was my calling and direction (moving forward). Cardiovascular medicine is an amazing field. It keeps developing, morphing and is very interesting.
If you could have dinner with one person, past or present, who would it be?
Ernest Hemingway. He was a passionate big game angler and fishing is one of my favorite hobbies. I would like to be able to hear from Ernest Hemingway what it was that drew him into the sport and hear his fishing stories.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I like a nice, big healthy salad because you can put whatever you want in it. There are so many different varieties of salads (which makes it so appealing) and so many different ways you can create a salad, so, for that reason I just love salads.
What do you do in your spare time?
I love being on my boat and out on the water fishing. Whether we are fishing out in the Gulfstream, or sharing time with family and friends, I love being in that venue around the water and the boat because it is a great way to get together.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
In the superpower realm, I have always loved Dash who is from The Incredibles. Dash has super speed. If there is an urgent or emergent situation, Dash can be there (in a snap of the fingers). It would be nice to have super speed like Dash to help. I love Dash’s super speed.
September is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Awareness Month. What is PAD?
Peripheral arterial disease involves blockages in the arteries throughout the body. As a cardiovascular surgeon, we start at the core, which is the heart, and any blocked arteries in the heart. Then, we have the ability to help (alleviate the blockages) with bypass surgery. The heart pumps blood out into arteries throughout the body so blockages can be anywhere. Common sites would be the arteries in the neck where blockages can occur and cause strokes. Stroke prevention, is achieved, through surgery relieving blockages that are over 70 or 80 percent. There is newer technology, which is the TCAR procedure where we actually go in and put a stent in for certain situations in the artery in the neck directly, and that’s been available to the general public in the last year at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. I am very proud to be part of that (offering and providing TCAR care to our community). Away from the heart, blockages can develop in the aorta, the main artery, as well as develop in the arteries that go to the legs, so, there is a whole field of medical expertise needed to address all these different situations. Over the course of my career, over forty years, the treatments slowly and gradually changed. Instead of open surgery, now many of the blocked artery treatments consist of balloons or stents. Therefore, that is why this field is forever an intriguing and challenging field. Treating peripheral arterial disease is part of the cardiovascular disease spectrum.
Can you share with the community PAD treatments you offer today?
For people who are having difficulty with their legs, whether it’s either they can’t walk too far, or can’t walk at all, and are developing sores or ulcers on their feet, there are bypass surgery treatments that we can do for blocked arteries in the legs like we do to bypass blocked arteries in the heart. In addition to that, we can take what we call angiograms or pictures of the arteries and then, as a first treatment, put a balloon or stent in to restore the circulation and try to use the actual open bypass surgery as more of a last resort.
What are some of the common signs and symptoms of PAD?
Pain when you ambulate or walk as well as pain in your legs. You could have pain at rest or in your feet. Those are two of the most common, initial warning signs of PAD.
What are some of the things people can do to prevent PAD?
One of the first major things people can do to prevent PAD is quit the tendency of using nicotine (by stopping) use of cigarettes or cigars. There is a very high-risk association between that social utilization and the medical entities that can follow. The second thing is diet, specifically a well-balanced diet avoiding too much fatty foods, keeping your cholesterol and triglyceride levels in a normal range with the help and direction of your primary healthcare provider. The third thing would be exercise, which is important just in general for your cardiovascular system and specifically your lower extremities where arterial disease may form. Exercising helps by maximally engaging all the arteries and capillaries and get the blood flowing.